Concluding the final meal of this particular SF trip, my party arrived at Quince. I had high hopes for this meal given the great one I had at TFL last night. One thing I was thankful for was that Quince isn’t very stuffy. Long story short, my significant other and I didn’t get a chance to change into our business casual attires but Quince gracefully allowed us to dine there with our jeans and t-shirt! The staff didn’t bat an eye throughout the night and treated us with tremendous enthusiasm and genuine care.
So how does the food fare?
Meyer Lemon with Sage
The bartender/mixologist whipped up some non-alcoholic pairings for us this evening. We liked these much more so than what we had at TFL. They were bright and refreshing in general giving us that much needed palate cleansing throughout the night.
Amuse Bouche 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. I don’t remember what they were since I never intended to write an extensive review. However, this series of amuse bouche ranged from good to great! DELISHHH!
Fresh produce of the day! Like Manresa, Quince partners with a local organic farm (Fresh Run Farm) so they get the best and freshest possible produce on the day of service.
The first course is presented on an iPad.
Apparently lots of people ask the restaurant about the origins of black truffle and how they’re found so Quince made a course using an iPad as a plate with a video of either a pig or dog hunting for black truffles.
Course #1: “Black Diamond” | black truffle croquette with salt roasted celeriac and roasted porcini
Great first bite with hint of fragrant truffle. The creamy interior is filled with celeriac and bits of roasted porcini.
Mint & Calabrian Chile Tonic
Course #2: Tsar Nicoulai Caviar Trio
Very nice presentation! 3 distinct caviar dishes.
Course 2A: Zucchini “pasta” with some unknown but amazing sauce - Highlight
Course 2B: Smoked Sturgeon - Highlight
Intensely smokey but didn’t detract from the oceany brininess of the caviar
Course 2C: Brioche
A relatively classic pairing of buttery brioche and caviar along with some creme fraiche for much needed acidity
Course #3: Artichoke, Monterey Bay Squid, Blood Orange, Farro
Another great dish. Quince is knocking it out of the park!
Course 3A: Squid ink Prawn chip with squid, artichoke mousse, and Espelette pepper
Think of your favorite MSG laden prawn chip on steroids. Now refine it and top it off with a few creamy dots of artichoke mousse and flavorful and tender squid.
Coures 3B: Squid on artichoke mousse with farro
More of the aforementioned goodies in quantity so you may reinforce the flavors with the chip or just eating them by themselves. YUMMM.
At this point, we were invited to the kitchen for a tour! We usually have to ask the restaurant if we can have a tour of the kitchen upon finishing our meal so maybe they read my mind?
These cucumber rose water with tonic were already waiting for us in the kitchen!
Next up, house made sourdough and hollow bread served with buffalo milk butter. Close to perfection? I wish I can get more of those reference brioche from TFL though.
What could it be?
Course #4: Asparagus, crawfish, nasturtium, wild ramp
Another highlight of the night. A mild asparagus soup is poured over a scrumptious crawfish gelée. Wowzers! The sweetness of the asparagus was accentuated when the briny gelée slowly dissolves. An unusual (for me anyway), but great combination of flavors!
Winter citrus - Kirhu mandarin, kumquat, blood orange with cinnamon & club soda
Course #5: Lobster mousse stuffed garganelli, lobster, black cabbage, black trumpet mushroom, black truffle - Best dish of the night!
Definitely my favorite pasta and lobster dish ever. Just give me a big plate of this and call it a day! Biting into the perfectly al dente garganelli will surprise you with a stuffed intensely lobster-y lobster mousse. It’s odd since a mousse typically doesn’t have any give when you bite into them but not this mousse with a snappy texture not far from a well cooked lobster! The truffle and trumpet mushroom added another dimension to the dish with different shades of earthy goodness.
Course #6: Quince’s version of SF bread bowl | Monterey Bay Abalone, green garlic, lardo, plankton - Highlight
The light abalone chowder tastes of the ocean enhanced by fragrant mild garlicky flavor from the green garlic. Lardo was doing its thing adding richness and depth. Can I get a bigger bowl please?
At first, I was wondering if I’m only eating black truffle for the next course…
But have no fear, smoked squab agnolottini were served tableside
Course 7A: Agnolottini, Paine Farm Squab, broccoli di cicco, Perigord Truffle - Highlight
Umm…Second favorite pasta ever behind the lobster one? Needless to say, the agnolottini was cooked to perfection. Biting into the slightly chewy al dente pasta gave way to a smokey and meaty squab. The utilization of truffle again added complexity to the dish in avoiding palate fatigue.
Course 7B: Some kind of pork tortelini served in a pasta rolling pin - Highlight
Hmm…third best pasta ever? Quince really knows their pasta don’t they?!
Quince invited us to the kitchen for the final savory course. A table was set up and drinks were sitting there waiting for our arrival! Maybe they wanted to impress us since we told them about our French Laundry experience from the night before?
Chilled Earl Grey tea with figs and cherry
Busy busy busy. I’ve dined at chef’s tables before but never have I actually eaten INSIDE the kitchen right next to all the different stations. It was an eye opening experience for sure!
Course #8: A4 Kagoshima Wagyu, Tibetan purple wheat berry, black garlic, romanesco - Highlight
A4 was chosen in place of A5 because it’s meatier and I certainly agree! I like it better than the A5 which can be a little too rich at times. The grains were cooked “al dente” and served as an excellent side to reset our palate alongside some garden salad (shown later).
A line cook served this to us. As we were finishing up the slice of wagyu, we were asked “if we are opposed to having ANOTHER slice of Wagyu.” Umm…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It’s a no brainer…we’ll take the free refill!
Garden salad with vinaigrette made from the Wagyu beef to go along with our beef. Decadent! The Chef de Cusine served the vinaigrette tableside and chatted with us for a bit before he began expediting again. Nice lad!
Course #8: Apple granita, coconut mousse, oxalis, Kaffir lime
Excellent palate cleanser with brightness from the acidic green apple granita and hint of lime countered by mild sweetness of the dotted coconut mousse.
Course #9: Chiboust, passion fruit, andoa chocolate, gold
Course #10: Some sort of souffle-ish cake with a bunch of stuff I forgot -.-
Mignardises…a variety of confections
Lemon custard tart with meringue and Bouchon truffles
Mint and watermelon lollipop
Don’t remember what they were…
Don’t remember what the were…
Don’t remember what the were…
In case you couldn’t, this meal was SPECTACULAR. There were highlights throughout the meal. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Another shout out to Quince’s staff for their exemplary service and hospitality. You can feel the warmth and that they were genuinely happy to be there. Upon leaving, our server Milton, walked us out of the restaurant and handed us each a cup of dark, rich, and lusciously velvety hot chocolate for our cold night walk back to our Airbnb. Lastly, he asked that we try out Benu the next time we visit SF again.
I really can’t wait to return to Quince!